Christmas Activities and Events
At Go Inspired, we have many programs in Florence, Italy during the summer. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to do in the winter as well! With the holiday season approaching, Florence has tons of events to make you get into the spirit. From German Christmas markets to a beautiful Christmas tree, Florence has something for everyone.
Check out this list of activities from The Florentine by Rose Mackworth-Young (issue no. 193/2013 / November 21, 2013)
Christmas fairs and markets
British Institute Christmas Fair
Arts, crafts, books, gifts and food in the Harold Acton Library. December 13, 3-6pm, The British Institute of Florence, Lungarno Guicciardini 15, www.britishinstitute.it.
German Christmas market
Warm up with mulled wine, strudel and hotdogs and admire handmade Christmas gifts from all over Europe. Until December 15, 10am-8pm, piazza Santa Croce, www.mercatini-natale.com.
The Magic of Advent
One of the biggest Christmas fairs in Tuscany: hot food stands, Father Christmas, market stalls, 1000 nativity scenes and more. December 15 and 22, Palazzuolo sul Senio, www.palazzuoloturismo.it.
Charity market to raise money for Emergency. Food, wine, toys, natural cosmetics, artisan products and more. Until December 24, via de’ Ginori 14, www.emergency.firenze.it.
Festival of Fusigno
Welcome in Christmas Day by eating sausages and drinking local wine round a huge bonfire in the centre of Londa. Evening of December 24, www.comune.londa.fi.it.
Giovedì al Quadrato
Create a handmade Christmas decoration for free in the courtyard of Palazzo Strozzi, accompanied by live music. December 12, 7.30pm, www.palazzostrozzi.org
Toscana Winter Park
All ages will enjoy this array of winter sports, as well as food, drink, exhibition stands and entertainment for children. Until March 2, 2014, Obihall, Lungarno Aldo Moro, www.firenzewinterpark.it.
Skating rink at the Parterre
Enjoy some festive ice skating over the Christmas period. Until January 6, 2014, 8am-11.30pm, Parterre, piazza della Libertà, www.firenzeturismo.it.
Christmas with the elves
Meet Santa and his elves, taste cakes by Mrs. Claus, listen to music, go on donkey rides and check out the market stalls- all in the historic streets round Pisa’s Logge dei Banchi. Until December 24, www.comune.pisa.it.
Meet Santa and his elves, and take part in a series of creative activities such as cake making, drawing and horse riding. Until January 6, 2014, Castello delle Terme Tamerici, Montecatini Terme, www.lacasadibabbonatale.it.
Concert by the Fiesole Music School
Christmas concert in St James Church. December 13, 5.30pm, http://stjames.it.
Zumpa & Balla
Get out your Rudolf nose or Santa hat for this crazy Christmas fancy dress concert! December 13, 9.30pm, Viper Theater, via Pistoiese/via Lombardia, www.viperclub.eu.
The King’s Singers
English a cappella group in concert. December 16, 9pm, Teatro della Pergola, via della Pergola 18, www.amicimusica.fi.it.
Christmas readings and concert
An evening of festive readings with music by the concert choir of St Mark’s Anglican church. December 18, 6pm, The British Institute of Florence, Lungarno Guicciardini 15, www.britishinstitute.it.
Christmas Concert by the Maggio Musicale
Music by Bach and Scarlatti, and tradizional Christmas songs from the Choir of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. December 19, 8.30pm, Auditorium S.Stefano al Ponte Vecchio, piazza di S. Stefano 1, www.maggiofiorentino.com.
Christmas concert at St James Church
Concert by The French School in Florence. December 19, 7.30pm, St James Church, via B. Rucellai 9, T 055294417, http://stjames.it.
Concert at the Natural History Museum
Il Tempio delle Muse, by the University of Florence orchestra. December 22, 12pm, Natural History Museum, via Romana 17, www.msn.unifi.it.
Music in Santa Croce church
Christmas concert by the Piccolo Coro Melograno children’s choir. December 23, 6.30pm, www.piccolocoromelograno.it.
Orchestra della Toscana
Christmas concert including suites from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet and Ponchielli’s Dance of the Hours. December 24, 5pm, Teatro Verdi, Florence, www.orchestradellatoscana.it.
Advent lessons and carols
Traditional musical service followed by parish lunch. December 15, 11am, St James Church, via B. Rucellai 9, http://stjames.it.
Nine Lessons and Carols at St. Mark’s Church of England
December 22, 6pm, via Maggio 16, T 055294764, www.stmarksitaly.com.
Christmas services at St James American Church (Episcopalian)
Christmas Eve: 6pm Parish Eucharist and Christmas Pageant; 11pm Christmas Midnight Mass. Christmas Day: Eucharist at 11am. St James Church, via B. Rucellai 9, T 055294417, http://stjames.it.
Christmas services at St. Mark’s Church of England
Christmas Eve: 5.30pm Evening Prayer; 11pm Christmas midnight service. Christmas Day: 10.30am Sung High Mass of the Nativity; 5.30pm Said Mass. St. Mark’s Church of England, via Maggio 16, T 055294764, www.stmarksitaly.com
Christmas in the World: A collection of over a thousand nativity scenes from all over the world, displayed in the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie in San Giovanni Valdarno (AR). Until January 6, 2014, www.natalenelmondo.it.
Other towns known for their nativity scenes displayed in their historic centres are Palazzuolo sul Senio, Cerreto Guidi, San Godenzo, Calenzano, Castelfiorentino and Cigoli (most of them remain at least until January 6).
Several towns put on re-enactments of the Christmas story, involving hundreds of residents and animals, and large parts of the historic centres, and bringing to life the angels, shepherds, oxen, Wise Men and, of course, the magical manger scene. Towns hosting these so-called ‘living nativity scenes’ include Casole d’Elsa (www.casole.it), Rosignano Maritime (www.comune.rosignano.livorno.it), Lari (www.prolocolari.it), Barga (www.comune.barga.lu.it), Ceretto Guidi (www.comune.cerreto-guidi.fi.it) and Castiglion Fiorentino (www.prolococastiglionfiorentino.it).